Five-year-old Olivia Howard looking forward to a happy Christmas at home

York Press: Olivia Howard Olivia Howard

THE family of a five-year-old girl who underwent two lifesaving operations are looking forward to a happy Christmas at home this year.

In January 2011, Olivia Howard, from Sherburn-in-Elmet, was rushed to hospital, where doctors discovered she was suffering from a brain tumour which measured 8cm by 5cm.

She underwent two 13-hour operations at just two years old to remove the tumour, and had her last bout of chemotherapy in April 2012. A scan last year suggested she was all clear, but she will continue to have tests to ensure the tumour has not returned.

This year, Olivia has turned five, started at Athelstan Community Primary School, and enjoyed a trip to Disney World in Florida thanks to the Make A Wish Foundation, but the best gift for her parents, Mark and Sue, came in December.

Mark, a self-employed tiler, said: “She’s doing fine now. She’s just had a scan a week ago and that’s come back clear, so that’s an early Christmas present for me and Sue. It’s not a bad one to get, and that's Olivia’s fourth one down now since she ended chemotherapy."

In the run up to last Christmas (2012), Olivia suffered from a bout of chicken pox, and the year before (2011), she spent Christmas Day in hospital after developing a fever. This year, her parents are hoping to enjoy a healthy, happy Christmas at home.

“We’re hoping it will be a home with my mum and dad, a nice family Christmas at home.

“Another year has gone past and she’s a little bit more clued up and she’s been to see Santa a few times over the last few weeks. We’ve had two A4 sheets of paper as a list after scouting the Argos book and she wants anything and everything, but nothing specific."

Mark said:”She loves school, absolutely loves it, and she’s going great guns. She’s coming along fine, teachers say she’s not any different to her peers, they are all round about the same learning stage they should be at.”

Olivia has also started wearing hearing aids, as the chemotherapy medicine she was on caused damage to her hearing.

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